Abstract

Although mammals of Paleocene age are well known from Alberta, their record is largely restricted to one lithological unit, the Paskapoo Formation (a record that includes mammals from the Cochrane area erroneously attributed to the Porcupine Hills Formation). We report here the first occurrence of Paleocene mammals from the Porcupine Hills Formation at exposures near the western edge of the city of Calgary. The assemblage, termed the Bearspaw local fauna, documents a diversity of multituberculate and eutherian mammals, including new species of the pentacodontid Aphronorus bearspawensis sp. nov., the mixodectid Eudaemonema bohachae sp. nov., the hyopsodontid Promioclaenus thnetus sp. nov., and a new genus and species of multituberculate (Alopocosmodon hadrus gen. et sp. nov.) tentatively referred to the Microcosmodontidae. The Bearspaw local fauna also details the first Canadian occurrences of several taxa, including Ptilodus wyomingensis, Aphronorus fraudator, Bryanictis microlestes, Elpidophorus minor, and possibly Goniacodon. Preliminary biostratigraphic analyses suggest that the Bearspaw local fauna is middle Torrejonian (To2) in age, correlating most closely with near-coeval Gidley Quarry of Montana and Rock Bench Quarry of Wyoming. In addition to improving the depauperate record of Torrejonian mammals in western Canada, the new fauna is important in documenting a mammal assemblage from a lithological unit that is thought to have been deposited in semi-arid conditions, rather than the wetter and more humid conditions of the Paskapoo Formation. Further, the Bearspaw localities, along with several other recently discovered localities in the Calgary and Cochrane areas, closely bracket the 27n–26r chron boundary and as such will be important in detailing the Torrejonian–Tiffanian transition in western Canada.

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